Creatine first gained popularity in the health and fitness world during the 1990s. Not only was it credited for building bigger muscles, but it also provided better endurance.
One study showed that the participants supplementing with creatine could double their muscle and strength gain compared to when they were training without creatine.1 This makes it one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements in addition to it being very inexpensive. However, the benefits of supplementing with creatine are not just for physical build, it has been shown to enhance mental abilities as well.
History of Creatine
Even though creatine first started being widely used a couple decades ago, it was discovered long before this. The French scientist Chevreul discovered this ingredient in 1832 by extracting it from meat and called it creatine.2
The German scientist Justus von Liebig confirmed that creatine comes from the flesh. He also found creatine levels to be ten times higher in wild animals than in captive animals. It seemed that physical activity increased the amount of creatine that the flesh provided.
Athletes and coaches in the early 1990s reported that supplementing with creatine could greatly improve performance. Within a few years, it seemed like every professional athlete was stocking up on this remarkable supplement. For instance, Mark McGwire broke the all-time home run record in 1998 and credited creatine as a big reason behind it.3
Creatine use has gained even more popularity since then. Plus, it has become even cheaper to buy. It is easy to get a month’s supply for merely a few dollars. And if that isn’t enough, there are even more reports promoting creatine as a valuable nootropic as well.
Nootropics are commonly known as smart drugs that can enhance cognitive abilities. Creatine is often overlooked as a nootropic because people mainly associate it with building muscle instead of it providing certain benefits for the brain.
Caffeine is one of the most popular nootropics, as it provides a brief surge in energy that can help you maintain focus and feel more alert for a short amount of time. However, creatine may be more effective than caffeine in this regard.
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Creatine is a compound that allows the brain cells to store energy for long-term use. Instead of getting a short energy burst, the stored energy can be used as required, which supports brain development and function as well as cognition.4
If you are feeling stressed out or lethargic, supplementing with creatine can be used to provide an extended endurance.
Furthermore, oral creatine supplementation helped 45 young adults in a placebo-controlled study score better on intelligence tests and improved their working memory.6
These are just a few studies that have led people to believe that creatine is quickly taking a place at the very forefront of the best nootropic supplements. Additionally, creatine is recognized as one of the safest and least expensive supplements as long as you follow the simple directions closely.
Supplementing With Creatine
Creatine is naturally created in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.7 Creatine intake can be increased by supplementing with creatine powder or by changing your diet. A pound of raw meat has about two grams of creatine in it while a pound of raw fish has five grams.8
However, if you are a vegetarian, there is a very good chance that your creatine levels are low and you might want to consider a creatine powder supplement for both the muscle-building effects and the nootropic benefits.
Safety, Precautions, and Dosage for Creatine
There are a couple things to keep in mind when adding creatine into your diet. For one, it is more beneficial if you consume it in a sugary drink, as the carbohydrates lead to creatine being absorbed better in the body.9
One question that people ask when it comes to creatine is if it is possible to overdose on it. Experts say that creatine is likely safe even if you take as much as 25 grams a day for two weeks.10 However, this is a dosage that you don’t really need. Most individuals consume four to five grams a day to reap the benefits, but research has shown that it is perfectly safe to take up to 10 grams a day for up to five years.
Be sure to increase your water intake while supplementing with creatine. Creatine brings water into your muscles, so if you are not supplying your body with more water than usual, there could be side effects such as stomach pain, dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle cramping.
The nootropic advantages that comes with creatine should definitely be explored by those worried about a decline in their overall cognitive abilities or people interested in improving their current intellectual skills.
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